Monday, April 03, 2017

Why I Stood up for Milo Despite Mixed Feelings

My support for Milo's First Amendment right doesn't amount to endorsing his many disgusting remarks. I support anyone's right to speak, right or left, religious or atheist, especially those who have been the target of censorship, or "no platforming," as censorship is often called now. As the ACLU recently asserted, everyone has the right to speak.

Here are a few of the highly critical statements I make about Milo in my Observer article.

"Without a doubt, Milo was rude and nasty. He said fat people were 'fucking disgusting.' He said 'shame on you' to women in the audience who wore a hijab . . .


"Enter Milo, in pearls and lipstick, a curious soldier in the free-speech cause. Many students were gleeful to find a fighter every bit as nasty as the campus cultural warriors who sought to silence them . . .

"My own feeling is that Milo was often thin stuff—he was one-dimensional, neglecting to locate any other personality trait that might mitigate his constant judgments about people on the left. He forever quoted silly statistics and 'facts.' 'The federal government spent three million dollars last year working out why (lesbians) are all so fat.' His rhetoric was absent goodwill that might truly persuade, and therefore he lacked complexity and depth on the stage. In short, too much stupidity issued from his pretty mouth. 'Ugly people have always been the leaders of the progressive movement.' Such comments, one after another, embolden the mean, alienate the good, and tire the ones in between . . .

"Milo revealed little depth or human warmth. He was no Ayaan Hersi Alli, whose own genital mutilation gives force to her quiet, inclusive arguments against truly misogynistic practices. He was no Camille Paglia either. Though Camille also voices brash complaint against third-wave feminism, her formidable education—and her paradoxical right/left, lesbian-feminist articulations about art and culture—continue to seduce the stray ones wandering between the claustrophobic ideologies of the left and right . . .


"All of this said, sometimes Milo got it right.

“'In Europe, you can get arrested for being misogynist, arrested for being offensive. You know, these are actual offenses. These are things that police can come and take you away for in Europe. Americans have to understand how bad it is in Europe.'

"On that point, Milo is on the money. In England, there is no First Amendment. My former advisor at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Marilynne Robison, published Mother Country in 1989, exploring the buildup of nuclear waste at a processing plant in England. British Greenpeace filed a libel suit against her, and her book remains banned in that country to this day . . ."

No comments:

Post a Comment